Agartala, Feb 15 (PTI) Veteran Congress leader Harish Rawat today appealed to the people of Tripura to vote for his party to “save democracy”.

“Both the CPI(M ) and the BJP are parties that do not believe in constitutional democracy. The Congress is the only political party that upholds democratic values,” Rawat said at a press meet at Congress Bhavan here.

People are fed up with misrule and unemployment in the state under the Left Front rule, the former Uttarakhand chief minister said, adding that the Congress will usher in development in Tripura if voted to power.

“I appeal to the people of the state to to choose Congress over the BJP and the Left to save the democracy,” he said.

Tripura is set to go to polls on February 18 and the results will be announced on March 3.

In a scathing attack on the BJP, Rawat said the saffron party is out to “purchase voters with money”.

“The BJP has brought to Tripura a lot of outsiders with moneybags from different states of the country. They had done the same in Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and elsewhere,” he alleged.

Earlier, Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar and CPI(M) State Secretary Bijan Dhar had also alleged that “outsiders” from Assam, Uttar Pradesh and other states have entered the poll-bound state in large numbers.

Last week, the ruling party lodged a complaint with the Election Commission seeking their ouster.

Refuting the BJP’s allegations that the Congress may have entered into a “clandestine pact” with the CPI(M), Rawat said it is the saffron party that is working “against the interests of the state”.

“The BJP has entered into a poll alliance with the Indigenous Peoples Front of Tripura (IPFT), a tribal party that demanded a separate state, ‘Twipraland’. The central government has also reduced funds for Border Area Development Programme (BADP),” he added.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.